SCCPSS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance and Updates

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Friday, March 13th, 2020

Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools are closely monitoring the latest developments regarding the potential threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States and in our area. As we are updated by the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), we will continue to follow the lead of local, state, and federal agencies. Our schools will continue to operate on a normal schedule as of now.  If circumstances warrant any changes to our operational schedules, parents will be notified by phone, email, website postings, social media and our media partners.

Further information will be posted on this website as needed, so we encourage you to check back regularly.  We have provided some additional resources you may find helpful at the bottom of this page.

Please be aware that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is asking school officials, as well as childcare centers and workplaces, to prepare for a possible outbreak. At this time, there are no confirmed cases in Chatham County. We are reinforcing the importance of healthy hygiene with our students and employees.

Should a confirmed case occur, we will immediately inform our school community


SCCPSS has a plan to address a potential pandemic, including a Continuity of Learning component

Currently, we are maintaining a four week supply of soap and hand sanitizers to make certain our staff and students are able to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control regarding hand washing and general cleanliness to help ward off the chance of illness. Our staff are working to make certain our classrooms, cafeterias and school buses are kept clean and sanitized according to guidelines from the health department.  We have also contracted with an outside environmental firm that will be on call to respond in the event there is a need.  
While the full impact of an outbreak cannot be predicted, planning for operations under such conditions can lessen the impact of the event on our students, staff, facilities and mission. The health and safety of our students and staff remains our top priority.
Precautions to Take

We encourage staff, parents and students to follow the same sensible steps and precautions that address many viruses and common respiratory illnesses:

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Frequently wash your hands with soap and water.

Properly cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with your elbow and not your hand.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Make sure your child's immunizations are up-to-date.

Stay home and do not go to work or school if you are sick.

If you have concerns about safety or sanitation we ask that you please contact your school's administrators directly, so that they are made aware of the issue and have a chance to respond. For additional help, please e-mail [email protected].

Information that’s Good to Know!

What supplies do schools have?

Custodial staff continually work to inventory school cleaning supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes and other cleaning agents.  If supplies are found lacking, the District will replenish as quickly as possible.  If parents wish to send any materials to their child’s school, we ask that you coordinate with your school principal to ascertain any specific needs.

What about student/staff absences?

If a student or staff member misses school due to an illness, that illness is excused as long a physician’s note is supplied in accordance with existing attendance policies.  SCCPSS seeks to educate students and staff about the effectiveness of handwashing, wiping down high-touch areas (doorknobs, handles, tabletops, etc.), social distancing, and use of disposable tissues.  

When do you tell a student or staff member to stay home and for how long?

Unless an individual has exhibited symptoms and has been tested for the CoVid19 strain, there is no reason to believe they have contracted the virus.  Students/staff exhibiting persistent symptoms of a communicable disease/condition may be required to undergo testing before being allowed to return to school.  The recommended quarantine for suspected cases of CoVid19 infection is 14 days.  Should it become necessary to invoke an e-learning or distance learning protocol, District guidelines will be provided.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Fever, coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing are all indicators of a respiratory ailment.  Additional symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or runny nose.   Follow this link for more:

What can parents and students do at home?

Our advice to the general public is the same as every cold and flu season.  First, we cannot overstress the importance of handwashing.  The use of soap and water is the single most important thing one can use to prevent disease and infection.  Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds (How long is 20 seconds?  Try singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice!)  Wash after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.   If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at minimum 60% alcohol.  Bleach is an excellent barrier to infection, as well, as are disposable wipes (Lysol, Clorox or store brands – please read the label to make certain it says “antibacterial” and mentions influenza virus on the label) used as directed.  In addition, cover coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue – and toss that tissue after you use it.  Make sure to stay home when you are sick.   Social distancing is important, as well.  This means staying 4-6’ away from other individuals who may exhibit symptoms.  Be mindful of traveling, especially to areas that could be considered high risk.

Re-entry of Students/Staff Traveling from Identified High Risk Areas:

Any student/staff returning from a location with sustained widespread transmission (Travel Warning of Level 3) should not attend school/return to work for 14 days after the return date. This includes family members of any student or staff member who may be living with someone who traveled to a high-risk area.  Specific directions on managing these absences will be provided to these individuals as needed.

Student Travel:            

Any school-sponsored and/or district-sponsored travel to areas with a Level 3 or 4 Travel Health Notice advisory for the coronavirus, as identified by the CDC or the US Department of State, will not be approved.  Currently, travel scheduled within the U.S. or for any area not identified as high risk will be reviewed for approval.  Any travel to events that contain a large number of attendees should be carefully considered and is subject to approval. Travel requests that have been approved, wherein travel has not yet occurred, shall also be subject to a second review for final approval.